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3 ways to turbocharge your web testing capacity

Posted by Dan Berry on Friday 02 June 2017

The damage that a poorly performing website, app, or digital property can do extends far beyond merely embarrassing the development team. Even seemingly small functionality and usability problems can result in irritated end-users, a blemished brand image, a decline in conversion, and, ultimately, a loss of sales and revenue. For example, Marks and Spencer’s £150m website redesign lead to an 8% decrease in online sales. This is further evidenced by a recent Google study which stated that good quality web applications deliver 6 times the spend compared with those of average quality.

Thus, the importance of carrying out comprehensive web testing before launching any new website or digital platform can’t be stressed enough. In fact, testing needs to continue on a regular basis post-launch to protect against new issues that are bound to crop up, thanks to constant OS updates and new device releases. Protecting your bottom line means making sure that your digital properties perform perfectly across all devices and browsers, and ensuring that your website is fully functional, a dream to navigate, and optimised for maximum conversion.

The problem is that for many organisations, tight budgets, capacity issues, and time constraints mean that this kind of thorough web testing doesn’t often take place. Unfortunately, this often leads to faulty, frustrating websites irritating customers and causing serious damage to brands’ reputations. This problem is magnified by astounding proportions when you consider the number of devices your visitors use to research and purchase your products or services.

Skimping on testing just isn’t an option anymore. If you’re worried that you’re not covering all of your bases, here are three ways to turbocharge your testing capacity:

1) Expand your in-house web testing team

Some large organisations are able to maintain huge in-house testing teams, sometimes comprising of over 60 professional testers. There are some excellent benefits of having access to a full-time in-house testing team, especially one of this size. Notably, carrying out your web testing in-house gives you absolute control over the process and allows you to address urgent issues in face-to-face conversations. This can make for crystal-clear communication and immediate, agile responses to problems.

Of course, there are some obvious drawbacks to going down the in-house route. For starters, the salary bill for a team of full-time professional software testers is nothing to be sniffed at, and you’ll also have to invest time in training up new staff members. The challenges don’t end there, however. Achieving peace of mind around the functionality and usability of your website for all users requires testing it across an exhaustive range of mobile devices. Given that there are over 24,000 device combinations that could be in use today, giving your in-house team access to the hardware needed to carry out a comprehensive testing strategy is patently unrealistic. What’s more, budget constraints mean that for most companies, in-house web testing teams are commonly made up of between two to six team members. This can seriously limit your web testing capabilities, as each tester can only test your site across a maximum of three devices before becoming susceptible to browser blindness.

Web Testing

Pushing your testers beyond these limits is likely to result in mistakes and missed problems. Finally, full-time in-house testing teams operate within the confines of a standard nine-to-five working day. When it comes to launching a new website or digital platform, exceptionally tight timeframes often require software testers to spill over traditional working hours into overtime. Once the website’s launched, however, your web testing requirements drop back down again, leaving your team with much less to do (and salaries that still need paying).

2) Hire an independent web testing organisation

If hiring a full-time in-house team isn’t feasible, another option is to outsource some or all of your web testing to an on-demand web testing organisation. One benefit of going down this route is that web testing organisations usually have access to a huge community of experienced software testers. This means that they’re able to offer web testing services that are both fully comprehensive and lightning fast. By deploying 200-300 software testers from all over the globe on one project, web testing organisations can fully test your website or digital platform for functionality, usability or security issues in just 72 hours. This can often deliver a staggering 90 man days of testing within this short time period. Pretty effective if you have an imminent launch and limited testing resources. If you're in charge of a development team, you don’t have to worry about the complications of huge staffing requirements, you just place a phone call, sign a cheque and get your bugs discovered quick and reported back in priority order for you to fix.

Outsourcing to an organisation that uses a crowdsourced web testing model can work out to be very cost-effective. This is because crowdsourced software testers aren’t paid an hourly rate or a monthly salary. Instead, they’re only paid for valid bugs found. As a result, you can end up paying as little as £4,000 for 300 experienced software testers to review your website in just 72 hours. (Use this pricing calculator to get a quick cost estimate for your website testing project.)

3) Hire independent freelance software testers

The third way to boost your web testing capacity is to hire independent freelancers to review your website or app. There are many excellent freelance software testers available, and the beauty of freelancers is that they can be hired on a flexible, on-demand basis. This can be a great money-saver, as software development can be a start-stop process, and testing requirements can therefore fluctuate.

However, the usual challenges associated with working with freelancers apply. Finding a trustworthy freelancer with suitable experience and a workable rate can be a challenge. Managing and communicating with freelancers can also be tricky, especially when the freelancer is working on multiple projects alongside your own. If you do decide to hire independent freelancers, it’s important to hash out communication and delivery expectations at the very beginning of the project. What’s more, using freelancers to carry out web testing on a large scale project can be problematic. Sourcing, managing, and paying a large ‘team’ of freelancers to execute a big project can quickly turn into a logistical nightmare, especially if you don’t have a tried-and-tested process in place for smoothly consolidating feedback from the various testers.

If web testing capacity is an ongoing issue for you, it may be time to rethink your entire approach to web testing. Although, ensure that you can manage the costs of testing when considering your web testing approach. Download our guide to managing your web testing costs below:

Web Testing